SAN FRANCISCO RISING-STAR JAZZ VIOLINIST JOHN ETTINGER RELEASES SUPERB SOPHOMORE CD, KISSINGER IN SPACE, FEATURING AN ALL-STAR QUARTET OF TENOR SAXOPHONIST TONY MALABY, BASSIST DEVIN HOFF, DRUMMER SCOTT AMENDOLA
ALBUM TO BE RELEASED SEPTEMBER 26, ON ETTINGER MUSIC; AVAILABLE THROUGH SUPER D, CDBABY.COM, INDIEJAZZ.COM AND FOR DOWNLOAD AT iTUNES.COM
While jazz violin has enjoyed a resurgence of interest in recent years with the growing popularity of such artists as Regina Carter and Billy Bang, its potential in improvised music has yet to be fully fathomed. Meet San Francisco Bay Area violinist John Ettinger, who, based on his debut CD, 2003's August Rain, and his superb new sophomore effort, Kissinger in Space, promises to be a key player to further explore the instrument's sonic depth.
Ettinger's new CD, to be released September 26 on Ettinger Music (catalog number je02), showcases his prowess as a composer and improviser whose music is a compelling blend of the lyrical and the free. The album also displays his talent as a fine bandleader whose quartet comprises top-drawer sidemen tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Scott Amendola.
Kissinger in Space proves to be a fitting follow-up to August Rain, which All About Jazz lauded as being a brilliant" album by these West Coasters [who] have a thing about music hovering between funk, the jam, free jazz, and good solid swing, simultaneously doing it all right." As for the leader, the review noted: The secret in this case is John Ettinger, violinist and looper/effects man ... [who] has a way of popping in and out at opportune times to build a melody out of a groove, establish a specific mood, or carry on a burst of lyricism. The loops swirl all the time."
Ettinger hastens to note that while the violin loops do play a role in Kissinger in Space (prominently in the eerie, spacy title track), they are scaled back. I've been doing that kind of improvising for years," he says. I love doing it, but this album is probably the least amount I've done. I wanted to hear more violin on this CD."
Kissinger in Space features Ettinger and co. playing buoyant tunes with spirited beats, reflective numbers with moving introspection and songs where the meditative and the exuberant converge. What's particularly noteworthy is the sonic kinship of the violin and tenor sax as Ettinger and Malaby play unison lines and sublime harmonies as well as converse and echo.
Holding the rhythm section down are two Bay Area regulars: Hoff (who plays in the Nels Cline Singers trio as well as fronts his own duo project Good for Cows with drummer Ches Smith) and Amendola (the Bay Area vet who in addition to fronting his own bands is also in Nels Cline Singers, currently tours with Madeline Peyroux, has an impressive resume with Charlie Hunter and the T.J. Kirk project, and played drums on Ettinger's first CD).
Kissinger in Space (Ettinger Music je02) will be released September 26, 2006. It will be available on cdbaby.com and indiejazz.com as well as downloadable at iTunes.com. Retailers can order it through Super D (sdcd.com), or contact the artist directly. For more information, visit John's website. For promotional copies, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.